Metallic mesh ceiling system in the "King of England"
Stuttgart's Schillerplatz square played host to intense discussions over freshly roasted coffee as early as 1712: this is when one of Germany's first coffee houses opened its doors there – which was later converted to the inn that would become known as the "König von England" or "King of England". After the inn's destruction in the Second World War, it was replaced by an administration building, which has been listed since 1984. This building has now been extensively refurbished and modernised for use by the Baden-Württemberg state ministries. The objective of the refurbishment was to retain the building's character typical of its time of origin while at the same time providing it with state-of-the-art facilities. To ensure optimal room acoustics and a magnificent appearance for the top floor, which has been converted into a conference room, the architects opted for a golden-anodised acoustic ceiling made of aluminium mesh from GKD – GEBR. KUFFERATH AG (GKD).
Modernisation in line with conservation practice
The refurbishment of the historical building posed a variety of challenges to the Stuttgart-based architect firm zsp Architekten: the plan involved refurbishment of all structural-physical and energy-related aspects of the facade and roof surfaces as well as the interior and cost a total of €7 million. The building's ground floor has hosted several shops since as early as the 1950s. Uninterrupted sales operations throughout the entire refurbishment further complicated the spatial organisation and scheduling of the modernisation process. Both the original reinforced concrete skeleton with its mounted travertine facade and the historical steel composite windows of the building were to be retained. Using restorative coating analyses and photographs of the building taken during construction, some walls and windows were restored to their original colours and the energy facilities were upgraded. Alongside the removal of harmful materials, fire protection was also optimised. In the interior of the building, surfaces and technical facilities were given a modern facelift. In this way, comprehensive modernisation measures created the conditions necessary for modern administration. And to reduce electricity consumption, the building with a usable floor space of around 4,700 square metres was fitted in full with LED lighting.
The top floor of the listed building had originally been converted into apartments, but the new owners wanted to use it as a conference and meeting room. However, the ceiling structure presented particular challenges to the architects when it came to equipping the narrow, but very long room with lobby for this use. They required a large-area, grid-free ceiling combining acoustic properties and a representative appearance – and found the perfect solution in the ceiling system with innovative CMP mesh (CMP stands for composite) by GKD from Düren, Germany. An aluminium honeycomb supporting plate allows large, bend-resistant panels to be used, and the gold-anodised surface layer made of Alu 6010 aluminium mesh gives the room a royal feel that befits the history of the building. Furthermore, the room acoustics are optimised through the use of an intermediate layer of acoustic fleece. Panels 3.45 metres wide and 1.25 metres long were fitted to an area totalling around 100 square metres. Finishing and fastening of the large panels were simplified by the highly stable and lightweight nature of the overall structure. The honeycomb supporting plate is mounted to the substructure by means of a perforated plate with L-shaped brackets fitted to the back. As such, the top floor of the "King of England" now boasts a glossy ceiling surface with a monolithic effect. The reduced number of joints resulting from the large dimensions of the panels and their butt join design underline this effect, and the representative shine of the metallic mesh is further enhanced by the round LED ceiling lights. The GKD ceiling system sets the tone when it comes to visuals and acoustics in the conference room, even during the most heated discussions.